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Teenager pleads guilty to role in group stripping of boy during birthday celebration

SINGAPORE: A student helped restrain a fellow teenager during a birthday party, while others stripped the boy of his clothes and filmed the process.

The accused, now 16, pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday (Nov 23) to his involvement in the incident, which surfaced on social media and was flagged to the police by the school's discipline master.

He admitted to one count of using criminal force on the victim to outrage his modesty by common intention.

The accused cannot be named as he is under 18. Other names including the name of the school were redacted from court documents.

The court heard that the accused and four others went to a barbecue pit at Yishun Ring Road to celebrate one of their birthdays at about 11pm on Mar 3, 2020.

The victim, who was 14 at the time, passed by the barbecue pit on his electric scooter and approached the group to say hello.

The accused came up with an idea to pull down the victim's pants, and his two co-accused - a 20-year-old unemployed man and a 16-year-old male student - agreed to join in.

At about 12.45am on Mar 4, the 20-year-old restrained the victim's arm from behind and pulled him to the ground, shouting: "Faster, come and pull his pants."

While the victim was on the floor, the accused held onto his arms while another person held onto his legs. The 20-year-old man undid the victim's belt and undressed him by pulling down his pants and underwear.

The man then hung the victim's pants on a sheltered walkway and hid his underwear in the bushes. The victim appealed to his attackers to stop, but they ignored him.

The only girl in the group, aged 14, recorded a video using her phone. The accused held onto the victim's arm while the latter was squatting half-naked, and the 20-year-old man removed his shirt.

The victim, by then completely naked, escaped and hid near a bush where it was dark. Another accomplice recorded a second video, capturing the accused and the 20-year-old removing the victim's shirt.

The group laughed at the victim and returned his clothes thereafter, sharing the two videos among themselves. The victim was angry and asked the group to delete the videos, but the 20-year-old man assured him that they would not circulate the clips.

A few days later, a school employee found one of the videos circulating on social media and informed the discipline master. He lodged a police report on Mar 6, 2020.

The prosecution called for a probation suitability report for the accused, noting that he was being cared for by his maternal grandparents and is "rather estranged" from his father.

The boy's lawyer said he may come from a broken family, but stressed that he is a "youthful offender".

The judge called for a probation report and adjourned sentencing to January.

For using criminal force to outrage a person's modesty, the accused could be jailed up to two years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments.

Source: CNA/ll(zl)


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